TRADE AND MARKET I NG Closed potato market in Norway keeps the local potato chain afloat WIFO Koningsplanter. He buys 30 percent of new seed every year. From the yield of the newly-purchased seed, he keeps the 38 to 45 millimetre sizes, which he uses as seed for next year’s cultivation. The cost price is between 5,000 and 6,000 euros per hectare. Together with NLR crop consultant Camilla Bye, Brauter has set up a trial field with new varieties on his farm. ‘I’d like to share my knowledge in order to raise the potato sector to a higher level’, he says enthusiastically. In addition to sharing knowledge about potatoes, he also uses his farm to help children with behavioural problems. ‘They learn and work on my farm, which is how they learn about farming. After their training, they can often start working on a farm straight away. This is important not only for the children, but also for the sector, because good workers are becoming increasingly difficult to find’, says Brauter. Supermarket as an important sales channel In Norway, Asterix is the largest table potato variety. ‘Consumers love the redskinned varieties’, says Olav Moe of small-packaging company Hvebergsmoen Potetpakkeri A / S in Grinder. The company where he works is part of the Bama purchasing organisation. This company owns about 50 percent of the Norwegian table potato market. According to project manager Harald Osa, the Bama group, with an Harald Sve Bjørndal sells his crop of Mandel potatoes partly to small-packaging companies such as Hvebergsmoen Potetpakkeri and partly through home sales. annual turnover of 1.8 billion euros, is the second-largest European fruit and vegetable trading company. In addition to buying and selling produce, it also has its own marketing department and a number of logistics companies. The company’s vision is ‘Fresh and Healthy’. ‘The more fresh produce people eat, the healthier they become. That’s a motto that’s also good for us’, says Osa with a laugh. In addition to supermarkets, Bama also sells to wholesale catering companies. Bama supplies the top 2 supermarket organisations Norges Gruppen and Rema 1000. In Norway, Norges Gruppen is the largest supplier with a market share of over 43 percent, which includes brands such as Kiwi, Meny, Joker, Mix, and Spar. The second is Coop with 29.3 percent and Rema 1000 with 23.7 percent. Bama is owned by customers Rema and Norges Gruppen. The third owner is the original founder of the company AS Bananas.Responding to trends The price of table potatoes in the supermarket at the end of June is between 3 and 6 euros per kilogram. Small-packaging company Hvebergsmoen Potetpakkeri packages around 25,000 tons of table potatoes. Manager Moe tells us in the modernly-designed business premises that it’s a challenge to get youngsters to eat more table potatoes. In order to achieve this, the company offers potatoes in all kinds of new ways. An example of this is a baked potato wrapped in aluminium foil that can go straight into the oven. Another product is a ready-made oven dish. It’s striking that microwave packaging has not yet made its appearance in the country. The table potatoes are purchased from 103 growers who grow their potatoes within a radius of 300 kilometres around the company. In addition to the fixed prices, growers can also receive a quality premium for their product. The supermarkets offer the potatoes partly loose and partly packaged in 2 and 5 kilogram packs. The price in the supermarket at the end of June is between 3 and 6 euros per kilogram. Mandel is a special variety in the table potato market The Norwegian Mandel variety is an old and well-known one in Norway. Grower Harald Sve Bjørndal, like many others, grows the variety year-after-year on the same plots, without rotation. ‘We have snow, Mandel potatoes and then snow again’, he says with a laugh on his plot located at 384 metres in the Oplland mountains in Vågå. He grows 85 hectares of these potatoes every year, of which he harvests an average of 30 tons per hectare. He doesn’t plough his own potato plots, in order to prevent stones from coming to the surface. The potato plot in front of his farm, where he has been growing the Mandel for thirty years, has not been ploughed in the past ten years. Potato World 2020 • number 1 35 Pagina 34

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